07 SES 04 A, Teacher Education Meets Inclusion and Diversity
The objective of this Doctoral research was to measure group simulation (role-playing) as a method of training teacher trainees to deal with intercultural conflicts, as well as social, physical and verbal bullying at school.
Intercultural conflicts at school, as well as school bullying, are widespread, worrisome global phenomena that disrupt educational activity (CDC - National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Division of Violence Prevention, 2017; Fishman, 2015).
Two recent types of research, one sponsored by the United Nations and the other by the World Health Organization, revealed the troubling extent of conflicts and bullying in school worldwide. According to the UN research (2016), 29% to 46% of school-age children worldwide suffer from bullying on a regular basis (Richardson & Fen Hiu, 2016). The WHO research, which relates to OECD countries (2016), found that 33% of the students reported having been victims of bullying or harassment at various levels of power at least once in the past two months, and 14.7% of the students reported various attacks on school premises (CDC, 2017). The problem attracts much public, social and academic attention, and globally it is considered a key problem in societies that see school as an agent of socialisation (CDC - Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017; Harel-Fisch et al., 2011).
Teachers confronted with ethical dilemmas related to intercultural conflicts and bullying at school feel powerless and unsupported by the education system, and report their acute need for operative tools to manage bullying (Gaikhorst, Beishuizen, Korstjens, & Volman, 2014; Shapira-Lishchinsky, 2013)
The choice of simulation for this approach is based on various studies from the fields of education and brain sciences. They hypothesise that the use of simulations entails the practice of teaching skills and leads to the qualitative experiential and applicative transfer of operative memory structures in the brain. Similarly, the simulations make it possible to predict and later to use insights and strategies that were internalized in similar cases encountered previously. Moreover, the use of simulations constitutes a pleasurable and experiential means of learning that mitigate problems and motivates learning. It promotes a sense of psychological empowerment in coping with dilemmas at the workplace and it encourages cooperation and reflective, operative group thinking (Bar, 2011; Shapira-lishchinsky, 2014; Kwanghyun & Saeon, 2016; Walter & Adam, 2014).
The decision to use ethical dilemmas in this study is underpinned by educational research, which concluded that the ability to handle ethical dilemmas contributes to teachers' social and moral development. This ability enhances teachers' commitment to their students' welfare and promotes an understanding of ethical principles, which in turn, improves their ability to find alternative ways to solve these dilemmas in the future (Aloni, 2013; Shapira-Lishchinsky, 2011, 2013; Scheffler, 2006).
The study examined the following questions:
- What are the characteristics of the ethical dilemmas raised by the two experimental groups?
- What changes occurred in perceptions of psychological empowerment in the experimental groups and the control group during the study?
The study population comprised 90 elementary school teacher trainees in their 3rd year of college. The workshops lasted 30 hours in total over one whole academic year. Two experimental groups were involved: the role-playing group and the non-role-playing group. The process for the role-playing group was as follows: Stage 1: Present a school bullying incident and hold discussions on the ethical characteristics of the incident. Stage 2: Role-play 2-3 different possible solutions raised by the group and video them using mobile phones. Stage 3: Watch the simulations and analyse final agreed ways of solving the ethical dilemmas through reflective discussions. The non-simulative group underwent a similar process but did not role-play. The influence of the intervention process on the psychological empowerment of the study groups was examined through questionnaires compiled by all participants, including a control group (that had no intervention process at all) before the study processes and one year after its conclusion. Also, a year after the process had finished and when most of the participants were working as independent teachers in different primary schools, 10 participants, randomly chosen from the two study groups met for semi-structured interviews that were intended to reinforce the research findings and verify longitudinal effectiveness. Data processing was based on mixed-methods – a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies (Kaniel, 2014; Keenan, 2010; Lieber & Weisner, 2010). The qualitative methodology was based on a transcription of the simulations and analysis of the written summaries of the two experimental groups. The ethical dilemmas raised by the participants regarding the various bullying events were analysed using free coding, based on the central dilemmas that were raised by them in their written summaries and in the simulations of the role-playing group (Shapira-Lishchinsky, 2011, 2013, 2014). The initial comparative analysis of the research data examined categories each of which had a separate meaning, based on basic concepts, statements, phrases that were repeated, and on overt behaviours of the participants. In order to establish the reliability of the data analysis, in the first stage, the data were analysed by the research composer and by her supervisor, in parallel and separately. In the second sage, the researchers met and reached agreement about the qualitative research findings and their division into categories, sub-categories and dimensions. The quantitative methodology focused on deductive statistics based on data processing of the psychological empowerment questionnaire regarding perceived ability to deal with bullying in school.
The findings indicate that the simulations contributed significantly to the trainees' psychological empowerment regarding their self-confidence, sense of control and their view of themselves as capable of making rational decisions when handling bullying. Also, the role-playing group demonstrated: 1. A significantly higher awareness of the importance of creating relationships built on mutual understanding and empathy when coping with school bullying. 2. A heightened awareness of ‘clear lines’ to create respectful/equal discussions 3. A deeper awareness of the teacher's role as a continuous and significant influence in the student's life. 4. A more extensive variety of possible solutions for ethical dilemmas. 5. Better team co-operation and a higher likelihood of promoting openness in confronting the most complex ethical challenges. These aspects have been treated in the research literature as being of utmost importance for success in treating and reducing bullying and intercultural conflicts (e.g., Aloni, 2013; Anderson & Lawton, 2009; Burger et al., 2015; Shapira-Lishchinsky, 2012, 2013; Strohmeier et al., 2012). Theoretically, this study broadens the ethical landscape of school bullying as well as intercultural conflicts and contributes to the development of a unique and novel methodology for teacher-trainees in confronting these acute challenges through simulative, metacognitive processes. On the practical side, this study suggests that simulation is effective for teacher-trainees as an empowering instrument for managing ethical dilemmas related to school bullying. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that the use of simulations and reflective discussions contribute to the assimilation of a wide variety of possible solutions for ethical dilemmas faced by teachers and teacher trainees. These solutions remain in the participants' operative memory and can be used daily in their capacity as teachers. Furthermore, the simulations, which take place in a supportive and risk-free environment, offer a method for learning that is experiential and enjoyable.
Aloni, N. (2013). Empowering Dialogues in Humanistic Education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 45, 1067 – 1081. Anderson, P. H., & Lawton, L. (2009). Business simulations and cognitive learning: Developments, desires and future directions. Simulations & Gaming, 40(2), 193-216. Bar, M. (Ed.). (2011). Prediction in the Brain: Using our past to generate our future. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Burger, C., Strohmeier, D., Sproeber, N., Bauman S., & Rigby, K (2015). How teachers Respond to School Bullying: An Examination of self-reported intervention strategy USA, moderator effects, and concurrent use of multiple strategies. Teaching and Teacher Education, 51, 191-202. CDC - Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). Youth Violence. DIO: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/index.html Fishman, G. (2015). Violence, its roots and trends. Ministry of Education in Israel, Director of Youth Company. DIO: meyda.education.gov.il/files/noar/ana31.doc Gaikhorst, L., Beishuizen, J. J., Korstjens, I. M., & Volman, M. L. L. (2014). Induction of beginning teachers in urban environments: an exploration of the support structure and culture for beginning teachers at primary schools needed to improve retention of primary school teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 42, 23-33. Harel-Fisch, Y., Walsh, D. S., Fogel-Grinvald, H., Amitai, G., Pickett, W., Molcho, M., Due, P., Gaspar de Matos, M & Craig, M. (2011). Negative school perceptions and involvement in school-bullying: A universal relationship across 40 countries. Journal of Adolescence, 34(4), 639-652. Kwanghyun, K., &Soyeon, L. (2016). Psychological Empowerment. Oxford Bibliographies. DIO: http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199846740/obo-9780199846740-0090.xml Lieber, E., & Weisner T. S. (2010). Meeting the practical challenges of mixed methods research. In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds.), Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research, 2nd Ed., (pp. 559-611). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Richardson, D., Fen Hiu, C.(2016). School violence and bullying: global status report. DIO: https://books.google.co.il/books?id=dXX2DQAAQBAJ&pg=PA48&dq=Richardson+%26+Fen+Hiu,+2016&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiEq-rYl4DZAhXECOwKHTPrCrwQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=Richardson%20%26%20Fen%20Hiu%2C%202016&f=false Shapira-Lishchinsky, O. (2011). Teachers' critical incidents: Ethical dilemmas in teaching practice, Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 648-656. Shapira-Lishchinsky, O. (2013). Team-based simulations: Learning ethical conduct in teacher trainee programs. Teacher. Teaching and Teacher Education, 33, 1-12. Shapira-Lishchinsky, O. (2014). Toward developing authentic leadership: Team-Based Simulations, Journal of School Leadership, 24(5), 1-13. Strohmeier, D., Hoffmann, C., Schiller, E M., Stefanek, E., & Spiel, C. (2012). ViSC Social-competency program. New Directions for Youth Development, 133, 71-84. Walter, B.F., Adam, MD. (2014). Teaching Communication Skills: Using Action Methods to Enhance Role-play in Problem-based Learning. Simulation in Healthcare, 9(4), 220–227. DIO: http://journals.lww.com/simulationinhealthcare/pages/default.aspx
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